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Join Date: Dec 2017
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986 CV Joint Replacement

There Will Be Hammering, Some Gnashing of Teeth, and…Some More Hammering
986 CV Joint Replacement by Dan Kauffold

I was pulling into the garage one evening after work and my wife was standing where I park my 2001 986. She was cleaning something up off the floor. I got out of the car to find out what all the hub-bub was about. She held up a paper towel and asked me what was on it. I immediately recognized that thick dark substance…axle/bearing grease. At a minimum, I know I have a CV boot issue strait away. So, I jack up the back and crawl underneath. The band clamp for the inner CV boot on the passenger side has apparently started to stretch or fail as grease is being thrown from the inner edge of the boot. More frustrating is almost 3 years ago to the day, I had this very boot replaced at our dealership while we were living in Germany. Though I did not get much time to dwell on or speculate on this. I decided I should check all of them just to see how many needed attention. There on the driver’s side inner boot, I received the proverbial punch in the gut. The CV boot had completely separated into 2 pieces. With that level of exposure/contamination, there was no question…this job just upgraded to CV joint replacement instead of just the boots. Luckily, the outer boots were good.
As an enlisted man, my pay grade doesn’t afford paying someone else to fix this issue. So I head into this with the full understanding it will take a good amount of time with a few busted knuckles. I got the parts on order, and solidified my plans for my 4-day weekend. The parts were to arrive on Friday, the start of my long weekend. Disassembly started first thing that morning. I exercised a small amount of poor judgement. In an attempt to make the job easier, I made it harder. I did not drop the exhaust initially; I unwittingly thought I could have enough clearance to get it done. A mistake that amounted to some very sore muscles and extra time spent. The caps on the transmission side of the CV joint were a little bit stubborn to get off. I grabbed a screwdriver and mallet…I had parts on the way, this had to come off. I bent, mangled, and rendered useless the caps. They were off though.
The problem was, I didn’t pay enough attention when I ordered the parts. Received the new joints that afternoon…no caps! This is a problem. Call our dealership, but it’s Friday early evening at this point. No caps until Tuesday at best. There is no undoing that at this stage. I proceed to release the snap rings with the appropriate snap ring pliers, disconnected the boots from the joint. Now, to get the joints off the axles. The passenger side was a breeze (CV boot replaced 3 years prior), it tapped right off using a mallet and flat blade punch. The driver’s side was a completely different story. I am fairly certain this joint had been on there since she rolled off the factory floor.
Ball peen hammer and flat sided punch in hand, I entered into what would become 2 days of tink-tink-tink-tink as I attempted to get the joint to release from the axle. As would be expected, after all that effort, the joint hadn’t moved even a fraction of a millimeter. I am quite certain I had annoyed our neighbors at this point. Arms burning, frustration high, and at the point of complete meltdown…I had an epiphany. No more games…I removed the sway bar, disconnected the exhaust between the header and the secondary cats. This allowed the exhaust to drop and give the extra 4 to 5 inches of drop on the axles to get to the CV joints properly. We are now into Monday morning. Back on the phone to get some exhaust flange gaskets ordered from the dealership so I can put everything back together. I also purchased a 3 jaw puller. After dropping the exhaust, I was able to get the puller on the stubborn joint and remove it in about 10 minutes. Lesson learned on that one.
I finally have everything off and cleaned up. I am thinking to myself, get the job as far as I can until I get the remaining parts. I pack the new joints with grease and slide the new clamps and boots on the axle. Time to put the new joints on. I start putting them on the axle, beveled side first as I should. They go for about 1 centimeter and stop…okay, where’s my mallet? I use the mallet to make sure they are seated well, but I don’t seem to be making much progress. I grab one of my high strength sensor sockets and my ball peen hammer. An important couple of notes here, first make sure the inside of the socket can fit over the axle, second never hit the new joint directly with a metal hammer. Holding the socket firmly against the new joints I commenced with my gentle tink-tink-tink-tink routine again until they were completely seated. Installed the new snap ring and added a lot more grease. I then seated the plate/boot. I ran the bolts from the transmission side to make sure the alignment of the new plate wouldn’t cause me issues later. I ended up having to use a C-clamp to fully seat the new boot plate. I took the bolts out, and now I am awaiting the parts I ordered. Another important note here, get the CV boot clamp pliers. Without them the clamps cannot compress properly (I made sure I had a set going into the job).
My wife picked up the parts Tuesday afternoon. Once I got home from work, I am back at it in hopes my wife doesn’t have to play taxi cab again. Using the bolt alignment and C-clamp method again, I get the caps installed. Putting the car in neutral and releasing the emergency brake made bolt-hole to transmission alignment much easier. I did discover that due to boot compression/bolt hole location; expanding the joint fully and running the bolts through the joint while adjusting the joint angle prior to installation made things a lot easier. After that everything was smooth sailing, just put it all back together again (a much quicker process at this point). The biggest time consumer at this stage was checking the manual for the specs and adjusting the torque wrench to the right setting. I started the work in the garage at about 4:30 or 5 PM that Tuesday. I had everything back together, tools cleaned up, test driven, and closing the garage door by 7:30 PM.
Yes, I have several busted knuckles and remnants of axle grease in my fingernails. I also saved about $1800 by doing it myself and I have a better appreciation for my car. The joint that had the separated boot did indeed show signs of contamination and metal fatigue. There is no knowing how long it would have lasted until a catastrophic failure occurred. There is no more vibration on deceleration or a sharp clunk in the butt when I release the clutch under more spirited conditions. It was worth it, and I would absolutely do it again…though it may go a little quicker with the knowledge gained through this experience. Though I do need a new ball peen hammer now.

Old 12-17-2017, 08:42 AM
  Pelican Parts Technical Article Directory    Reply With Quote #1 (permalink)
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 76
I'm swapping out an engine and my half shafts needed attention. I got my kits from Rock Auto and they came with new boots and clamps, a new c clip (didn't fit) and a bag of grease. So easy so rewarding. I used an air hammer with a straight chisel to get the covers off, no damage.

I tip I would suggest is put the inboard bolts in before buttoning up the inboard boots, much easier. I reused the old clip. and cleaned up afterword in my parts washer. Done! & nice and clean! New outboard axle nuts of course.
Brian Lamberts
Tucson AZ
Old 12-18-2017, 09:04 AM
  Pelican Parts Technical Article Directory    Reply With Quote #2 (permalink)
Dmitry at Pelican Parts's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 3,137
Excellent write up and glad that you were able to learn from the experience. If anyone else wants some details for this procedure, take a look at the link below to our DIY tech article. Please let us know if you have any questions!

Porsche Boxster CV Joints and Boot / Axle Replacement - 986 / 987 (1997-08) - Pelican Parts Technical Article
Old 12-18-2017, 02:48 PM
  Pelican Parts Technical Article Directory    Reply With Quote #3 (permalink)

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